Updated on 2 February 2017
Takeda Pharmaceutical and Shionogi & Co. along with other three Japanese drug companies recently collaborated to develop treatment techniques for dementia and similar neurological diseases. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Ono Pharmaceutical and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma are also taking part in the joint-research project.
The Japanese government will lend its support through the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, or AMED. The Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which runs a data system that mines research at roughly 700 universities, is also a partner. This partnership was able to get off the ground because it involves basis research, which is not subject to direct competition. If these delivery systems rise to the level of practical implementation, they would lead to drug development for conditions ranging from brain tumors to psychiatric disorders.
Right now, no treatment is on the market worldwide that can effectively treat dementia. The same mechanism that helps to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering the brain impedes the delivery of drug compounds.
Kobe Gakuin University and other Japanese universities will provide a technology for the drug delivery systems and researchers from the five companies will share responsibility in proof-of-concept tests and other processes.
AMED was established by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration as an emblem of his economic growth blueprint. The body makes strategic investments using medical research funds from the health, economic and education ministries. For this project, AMED is leaning toward picking up half of research costs. The government is looking to support these types of joint undertakings to keep a lid on medical expenses.